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Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott surprising leader in 2015 Heisman Trophy odds

Bovada released its first set of Heisman Trophy odds for 2015 with Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott topping the list.

It has been almost two months since Oregon’s Marcus Mariota took home the 80th Heisman Trophy in New York. Naturally, the race for the 81st Heisman has already begun. On Monday Bovada unveiled its Heisman Trophy odds for the 2015 season, and the list included a few surprises.

Bovada’s complete list of 2015 Heisman odds is below.

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Heisman Odds

Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State RB


Dak Prescott, Mississippi State QB


Leonard Fournette, LSU RB


Trevone Boykin, TCU QB


Cody Kessler, USC QB


Nick Chubb, Georgia RB


Paul Perkins, UCLA RB


Derrick Henry, Alabama RB


Samaje Perine, Oklahoma RB


Cardale Jones, Ohio State QB


J.T. Barrett, Ohio State QB


Braxton Miller, Ohio State QB


Connor Cook, Michigan State QB


Josh Robinson, Mississippi State RB


Corey Clement, Wisconsin RB


D.J. Foster, Arizona State RB


Royce Freeman, Oregon RB


Brad Kaaya, Miami QB


Dalvin Cook, Florida State RB


Deshaun Watson, Clemson QB


James Conner, Pittsburgh RB


Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech QB


Nick Wilson, Arizona RB


Seth Russell, Baylor QB


Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State QB


Jacoby Brissett, NC State QB


Jalen Hurd, Tennessee RB


Jared Goff, California QB


Marquise Williams, North Carolina QB


Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss WR


Scooby Wright, Arizona LB

66/1 offered its way-too-early Heisman Watch earlier this month, but here are a few thoughts on the latest Heisman odds:

• Perhaps most surprising, a quarterback is not the odds-on favorite to win the Heisman next season. That honor belongs to Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, who leads the field with 6/1 odds.

Elliott’s spot atop the list is intriguing for two reasons. First, since 2000 only one back -- Alabama’s Mark Ingram ('09) -- has won the Heisman. (Reggie Bush’s '05 win was vacated due to NCAA violations.) Second, whichever player emerges as the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback is expected to steal the spotlight in '15.

But it’s hard to argue with Elliott’s momentum: He ran for 696 yards and eight touchdowns in Ohio State’s last three games. He could be set for big things.

• Speaking of Ohio State quarterbacks, Cardale Jones holds the best Heisman odds of that well-documented group. Jones, who started the Buckeyes’ final three games, sits at 14/1, just ahead of J.T. Barrett (16/1) and Braxton Miller (18/1).

Very little separates Ohio State’s three quarterbacks in the eyes of Las Vegas, which makes sense. After all, no one knows which of the three will emerge as the Buckeyes’ starter. Vegas is giving a slight nod to Jones, who threw for 242 yards in Ohio State’s 42-20 win over Oregon in the national title game.

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• The most overrated player on Bovada’s list? I’ll say UCLA running back Paul Perkins, who sits at 12/1 odds. That’s ahead of Alabama's Derrick Henry (14/1), Florida State's Dalvin Cook (33/1) and Clemson's Deshaun Watson (33/1). Perkins’ odds are the same as Georgia running back Nick Chubb’s.

The Bruins back enjoyed a solid year in 2014, running for 1,575 yards with nine scores. But is anyone expecting him to overshadow guys like Chubb and Henry? The Bruins will break in a new quarterback next fall to replace Brett Hundley, so perhaps many assume Perkins could have a breakout year. But Henry and Chubb should enter the season with more headlines.

Of course, the most ridiculous selection on this list is Mississippi State’s Josh Robinson. He declared for the 2015 NFL draft in December.

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• The top-rated quarterback on Bovada’s list is Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott, who is tied with LSU tailback Leonard Fournette (7/1) for the second-best odds of any player. Prescott was a dark-horse Heisman candidate entering 2014 and put up one of the best seasons ever for a Bulldogs quarterback, setting 12 single-season program records. But losses to Alabama and Ole Miss shattered his hopes.

Prescott could certainly be better in 2014, but will Mississippi State? It is set to return just nine starters, the fewest in the SEC. That’s why it’s surprising to see Prescott ranked ahead of TCU’s Trevone Boykin (15/2) and Watson (33/1), both of whom return a lot of offensive talent.

Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright (66/1) is the only defensive player on the list. The Bronko Nagurski Award winner entered 2014 as an unknown, but blasted on to the scene with 163 total tackles, including 29 for loss. Defensive players need serious name recognition to contend in the Heisman race, and Wright is probably the only player with the profile to earn early consideration in '15.

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• A number of dark-horse Heisman contenders round out Bovada’s list, but Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd might be the most intriguing. The 50/1 pick is a former five-star prospect who ran for 899 yards with five touchdowns in 2014, but ended the year with 122 yards and two scores in a bowl win over Iowa.

Hurd is one of 10 returning starters on the Volunteers’ offense. Keep an eye on his stock if Tennessee surprises in the SEC East.